In case anybody did not see the play that people are talking about, Derek Jeter was hit by a pitch in a big division game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Simple enough right? Well the problem is that Jeter was not actually hit by the pitch and the ball clearly hit off of Jeter’s bat. This was tough to notice because of the way Jeter reacted. Jeter seemed to be in pain, briefly holding his wrist, and causing the trainers to come out and check on him. This play escalated after Curtis Granderson came up and belted a 2-run homerun which put the Yankees up 3 – 2 in the 7th inning. The Yankees ended up losing this game 5 – 4, but there were many questions about the well-respected Derek Jeter after the game.
Jeter, who did not scurry away from any questions reporters asked after the game, and was forthright about the ball hitting the bat and why he did it, “It’s part of the game. My job is to get on base.”, Jeter said. I completely agree with him. His job is to do everything he can to help his team win the AL East, and what Jeter did was set his team up for the game-leading homerun at the time by Granderson. Even the Rays manager Joe Maddon agreed with the play Jeter made and wished his players would do the same, “If our guy does it, I’m very happy with that if we end up getting the call”, Maddon said. Even though there are rumors rumbling that the Tampa Bay Rays would intentionally hit Jeter with a pitch to make a point next time the teams play.
I am extremely suprised to see all this talk about Derek Jeter’s integrity. It seems hypocritical to call this cheating but call a player trapping a ball in the grass and acting like it was a catch, a “smart play”. You see players in every sport persuading the officials or umpires almost every single game. The only difference is that this play doesn’t happen as often, or you would see a lot more players doing the same. I will never fault a player for helping out his team. The main reason that this is become such a big topic is the fact that the umpire missed the call. If the call was made right, Derek Jeter continues his at-bat and there are no headlines or talk-shows bringing up Derek Jeter being a cheat. This is why people need to understand that it is the umpire’s job to make the right call, not Derek Jeter’s.